The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life by Erving Goffman

955 WordsFeb 24, 20184 Pages
Dramaturgical Perspective In his book, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Goffman (1959) focuses on the self as a staged production in which people actively present themselves to different audiences one encounters. To bolster his conceptualization, Goffman used an interesting metaphor of “all the world’s a stage” (1959, 254). This, he terms as a “dramaturgical approach” (Goffman 1959, 240) in which an actor puts on a show for others; drawing analogies between human behaviors and the theater. Goffman (1959) likens the individual to an actor on stage performing for and with other individuals involved in the situation. Three types of space exist for the actor to perform on, to enact the self, and to interact with others: the front stage, the backstage, the outer region. Goffman (1959) utilizes specific dramaturgical terms such as performance, teams, front and back regions, sign-vehicles, and highlights the process of dramatic realization. These terms will be discussed in the following sections. Performance. The interactions are viewed as a performance, constantly being shaped by the environment and audience, with the objective of providing others with impressions that are consonant with the desired goals of the actor. Specifically Goffman states as “all the activity of an individual which occurs during a period marked by his continuous presence before a particular set of observers and which has some influence on the observers” (1959, 32). Goffman (1959) uses the
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